Money Reimagined: COVID-19’s Crash Course in Exponential Math
By Michael Casey
OPEN-SOURCE CBDC. The Digital Dollar Project of former Commodity Futures and Trading Commission Chairman Chris Giancarlo got a solid endorsement from Karen Petrou, one of the most trusted analysts of federal finance policy. In her “Economic Equality” blog, a must-read chronicle of how finance impacts the kind of disparities described in the prior item, she first skewers the more centralized version of a central bank digital currency – the kind contained in China’s DCEP. She worries about financial inclusion. Whereas CBDC advocates tout the model as a way to “bank the unbanked,” Petrou argues it will hurt the poor. She offers two reasons: 1) The “digital divide” means the poor don’t have access to the online tools they’ll need, and 2) the centralized surveillance of transactions will be used in a discriminatory way against low-income users. She also worries the transfer of bank deposits to Federal Reserve-based CBDC accounts would undermine the autonomy of banks to offer credit, creating incentives for the politicization of the central bank as an arbiter of lending in the economy. The solution, she says, is an “open-source CBDC,” a more decentralized model in which banks and, potentially, tech companies would be approved to create reserve-backed tokens that track the value of the actual currency. In doing so, she explicitly cited Giancarlo’s June congressional testimony about the Digital Dollar Project’s tokenized model.